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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Becoming a “learn-it-all” + growth mindset

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

1 idea: Becoming a “learn-it-all”

"One version of confidence is: I've got this figured out. Another version is: I can figure this out. The first is arrogant and close-minded. The second is humble and open-minded. Be humble about what you know, but confident about what you can learn." – James Clear One of the coolest case studies I came across in my research for Humbler Leadership was the story of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. When Microsoft announced it was look­ing for its third chief executive in company history, industry experts were surprised when a gracious and modest executive from within the organization was chosen to lead the way.

But Nadella was no accidental choice. Having spent the last 22 years at Microsoft, the man knew the company inside and out. He had also consistently delivered results through two traits that stood in sharp contrast to the com­pany’s dominant culture: empathy and humility. His eclectic reading of economics, literature, poetry, and computer science led him to conclude, “From Ancient Greece to modern Silicon Valley, the one thing that has brought down empires or companies or people is hubris.” Nadella’s empathy and humility led to some instant culture changes within Microsoft. Senior leadership team meetings soon became collaborative and engaging, with Nadella drawing out opinions of his leaders rather than ripping them apart—a far cry from tense and defensive battles that occurred under his predecessors. An ardent advocate for the growth mindset, Nadella’s stated goal for Microsoft is that they would transform from a bunch of “know-it-alls” to “learn-it-alls”—leaders marked by curi­os­ity, experimentation, and intellectual humility. Instead of creating a culture where leaders feel like they must prove themselves constantly, Nadella has cultivated an environment where executives humbly seek to experiment and learn new things. And the results have been astounding. After seven years at the helm, Nadella’s company grew from an impressive $300 billion in market capitalization to a worth of $2.5 trillion, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world.


If you were to take a page from Nadella's playbook, what would change for you?

  • Where do you have “know-it-all” tendencies?

  • What would a “learn-it-all” do instead?

  • What's one small step you could take this week to move in that direction?

1 resource: Growth mindset

If you want to do a deeper dive on growth mindset, the official source is Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. As the creator of the concept, Dweck knows more about the ins and outs than anyone.

You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Cover of Carol Dweck's book Mindset

Note: If you purchase a book via the link above, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).


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